REVIEW: They laughed when we said it would happen, but Jaguar has made some shrewd powertrain and model decisions to reinforce its recent market growth worldwide, writes Dave Moore.
As we predicted 12 months ago, Jaguar is adopting Ford's 2.0-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine for use in its XF range to provide entry-point editions to compete with similarly configured models from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, which in their segments are the biggest-selling editions in the lineup.
Jaguar has also announced that it has uprated its entry-point diesel offering for the XF and XJ ranges, while the XF lineup has been complemented by the introduction of the Sportbrake model, Jaguar's first-ever rear-drive station wagon.
Higher up the range, Jaguar is also introducing a new 3.0-litre supercharged V6, which, with 335 kilowatts and 450 newton metres on tap, will replace the normally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engines on XJ models in some markets.
The XF's 2.0-litre turbocharged four, which already enjoys extensive use by both front and rear-wheel-drive Fords, and in Volvo and Range Rlver products, will offer 237kW and 340Nm in its Jaguar application.
On top of all this, Jaguar is expanding the use of its new eight-speed automatic transmission with a start and stop system in all petrol and diesel engines across the range, improving emissions on the V6 diesel engines by 6 per cent and on the supercharged V8 petrol by up to 11 per cent.
In a surprise move, when Jaguar announced its new engine lineup, it said it had replaced its previously much-touted Bowers and Wilkins sound systems with new Meridian audio equipment.
Jaguar's 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel range is now available in 161kW and 197kW forms, with the latter unit replacing the already impressive existing 187kW engine. The new engines join the existing lineup of 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel and supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol units, which continue in the XF and XJ ranges with no changes.
For 2013 XJ models, Jaguar has improved suspension refinement and performance.
Alongside the new powertrain lineup, all models in the range benefit from recalibrated spring and damper tunes, as well as remapped damper software, offering enhanced ride isolation and passenger comfort on all surfaces.
The availability of engines will differ from market to market. For instance, fours or diesel will reach the United States market for the time being, and until an all-wheel-drive version becomes available, the new XF Sportbrake will be launched and marketed exclusively with diesel powerplants.
For the performance-oriented Jaguarphile, the XF's range-topping 503kW XFR model will now be available with a Jaguar Speed Pack, which will feature a revised engine and gearbox setting in keeping with its intended enthusiast driver demographic. The kit also comes with a new front splitter and a new rear wing.
It may be irrelevant in this day and age, but the Speed Pack-equipped XFR can now reach an increased limited top speed of 280kmh instead of 250kmh.
Jaguar expects to release equipment and pricing details during the next few months.
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